A grab bag of contests, new products

HOMEWORK

July 04, 1999|By Karol V. Menzie & Ron Nodine

HERE'S A summer grab bag of contests and new products:

Do you have a particularly affectionate relationship with your deck?

It's funny how attached people can get to their decks. It can be the place you take your morning cup of coffee, to watch the birds and the squirrels the place where every container is a floral arrangement, lovingly tended the place where everyone gathers for a weekend meal, or the place where you sit at night with a glass of wine, watching fireflies and stars come out.

Thompson's, the people who make water-seal products and numerous other products for treating wood, are sponsoring a contest to find the 50 best-loved decks in America.

To enter, submit a color photo or photos (maximum size 8 inches by 10 inches, no touch-ups or digital enhancements) of your deck along with a 200-word essay on why your deck is important to you and why it should be considered one of America's favorites.

The contest runs through Oct. 31. Send entries to "Thompson's Favorite Fifty Contest," P.O. Box 703269, Dallas, TX 755370-3269.

Fifty decks will be selected. Grand prize is $5,000, first prize is $500. Forty-eight second-prize winners will receive a deck care kit (value about $65). Judges will take into consideration the overall appearance of the deck, the creativity of the entry and the appeal of the accompanying essay. Winners will be announced on or about Dec. 15.

The grand-prize winner of a contest sponsored by Dremel, which makes hand tools and accessories, was Tom Kelley of Fort Collins, Colo., who transformed a hall tree. When he started, the hall tree was just a collection of pieces in a box. Kelley spent 85 hours restoring it to rococo splendor. He won $3,000 and a Dremel tool package.

Dremel has introduced a contour sander with 10 sanding contours to make it easy to tackle such projects as balusters and moldings, chair rungs and shutter slats. The sander weighs one and three-quarter pounds, and has variable speeds from 4,000 to 8,500 strokes per minute. It's available at hardware and home improvement stores at a suggested retail price of $79. For more information, call 800-4-DREMEL, or check out www.dremel.com.

Staple guns can be wonderful tools. You can put up plastic barriers with them, replace chair coverings and upholstery, lay carpet, install paneling and trim, and use them on crafts and posters, among other things.

PowerShot has just introduced the Cobra, a new staple gun that, in addition to being powerful, reduces hand fatigue by its unusual design. You grip the tool right over the front, above the hammer, rather than at the back, pushing the grip handle with arm strength and body weight, instead of squeezing it with the hand.

Cobra says the design also eliminates kickback and shoots staples deeper and more accurately. There's even a window to let you see how many staples are left.

It's available at hardware retailers for a suggested retail price of $29.95.

For more information, call customer service at 540-228-5371, or check the Web site at www.PowerShot-Tool.com.

Ron Nodine is owner of American Renovator Inc., a Baltimore design-build remodeling firm, and former president of the Remodelors Council of the Home Builders Association of Maryland. Karol Menzie is a feature writer for The Sun.

If you have questions, tips or experiences to share about working on houses, e-mail Ron at hw@renovator.net or Karol at karol.menzie@baltsun.com. Or write c/o HOME WORK, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. Questions of general interest will be answered in the column; comments, tips and experiences will be reported in occasional columns.

Pub Date: 7/04/99

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